Experimental observation of the spin-Hall effect in a two-dimensional spin-orbit coupled semiconductor system

Phys Rev Lett. 2005 Feb 4;94(4):047204. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.94.047204. Epub 2005 Feb 4.


We report the experimental observation of the spin-Hall effect in a 2D hole system with spin-orbit coupling. The 2D hole layer is a part of a p-n junction light-emitting diode with a specially designed coplanar geometry which allows an angle-resolved polarization detection at opposite edges of the 2D hole system. In equilibrium the angular momenta of the spin-orbit split heavy-hole states lie in the plane of the 2D layer. When an electric field is applied across the hole channel, a nonzero out-of-plane component of the angular momentum is detected whose sign depends on the sign of the electric field and is opposite for the two edges. Microscopic quantum transport calculations show only a weak effect of disorder, suggesting that the clean limit spin-Hall conductance description (intrinsic spin-Hall effect) might apply to our system.